Goalkeeper: Salvatore Sirigu (Torino) Saves: 101 Clean Sheets: 14
The best goalkeeper of the season was not particularly close this year. Even though Inter Milan Samir Handanović was brilliant leading Italian football with 17 clean sheets last season the game is not all about numbers. Inter Milan finished relatively where they should have. Torino’s Sirigu kicks off my best 11. He was without question the best goalkeeper this season. He finished which 14 clean sheets which were the second most this season in Italian football. Not only that Torino drastically overachieved what any of us thought they could accomplish this season. For about half the season they were pushing four Champions League football. They ultimately fell a little short just outside the European places finishing in 7th. But nonetheless, it was a tremendously successful season. A large part of that was Torino’s defensive record at times this season they had gone over 10 games without conceding a goal. Sirigu was a huge part of that even though he had a tremendous defense in front of him he made crucial saves in big games against some of Italy’s best teams. Torino’s had the 5th best defensive record in Italian football only having conceded 37 goals. Which is a lower amount then 6th Place Roma, 3rd place Atlanta, and just one more goal than second-place Napoli. There truly was not a better goalkeeper in Serie A last season. He consistently made big place players in important games. Torino ended up finishing in 7th place higher than Lazio, Sampdoria & Florentina as well as some others. The season did not end with the European football but even so, they had a tremendous campaign finishing a lot higher than anyone really expected. At the start of the season they seemed by all accounts like a classic mid-table side no one expected a European plush and with another goalkeeper, I’m not sure they would have done as well. Sirigu came through constantly and saved Torino so many points this season. For the goalkeeper of the Season, there really wasn’t another choice.
Left Back: Alex Kolarov (Roma) Goals: 8 Assists:2 Clean Sheets:9
At left-back, we would see the return of Alex Kolarov in my team of the season for the second consecutive year. Roma’s defense was absolutely horrible this season I don’t think you can go away from that. However with that being said the defender position has evolved over the last few decades. It has been so much more than just displaying defensive abilities. In this day and age Defenders are attacking specialist as well. Don’t get me wrong Alex Kolarov has had moments in which he was brilliant defensively and also had moments when he was exposed. But with all that being said the total totality of his performance justifies his place among Serie A’s best. This season Alex Kolarov may not have been as great as he was last season last year he was the single best left back in Serie A even though he had defensive problems nonetheless he deserves a spot. Mostly for what he did in the attacking sense. There may not be a better attacking minded defender in all of Italian football and I’m not sure it’s particularly close. He does an exceptional job on that left wing providing service off set pieces and his service can dictate the pace to put Roma into dangerous areas. He has scored in Incredibly important games. The most incredible part of his season was his free-kick to beat Lazio in the Derby Della Capitale. A team he used to play for it shows his versatility in his attacking ability. Alex Kolarov was the highest scoring defender in Europe with 8 goals there is not a more dangerous player at his position in the attack. Defensively it may not have been his best season but eight goals and two assists in Serie A is pretty exceptional. This might be a controversial choice but you cannot talk me out of this it has become a very versatile position everything must be taken into account and even though at times he struggled. In the attacking sense, he was the very best.
Center back: Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan) Clean Sheets: 17
Returning to my team of the season for the second consecutive year is Milan skinnier. Inter Milan center back only continues to display brilliance on a consistent basis for the Inter Milan. This season wasn’t as easy as anyone expected they did not put together a title challenge at all and we’re fighting for the final Champions League spot and nearly missed it on the last day of the season. That can attribute what happened to the controversy that took place this season or the lack of consistency from Marco Icardi as well as various amounts of other outlets. However, Inter Milan’s one constant thing was the performance of center back Milan skinnier. He is one of the most desirable center-backs in Europe and has recently signed a new contract with Inter Milan. He has earned every penny of it. He is in the conversation for one of the best defenders in the world and certainly one of the best in Italy. He is on par with Koulibaly as the best defender in Italian football. He has proven this week in and week out. His ability in terms of man-marking is as good as anyone in Europe. There have been a lot of big-name Strikers will come up against Milan skinnier and have drastically struggled. He’s physical smart and makes really decisive movements. In the biggest games, he has had breakthrough moments. Defensively he has made things very uncomfortable in the Milan Derby against polish Superstar Piatek he came out as far as superior as a Polish star failed to contribute in any way and a large part of that was Milan skinnier. Even against Roma’s Edin Dzeko who he described as the hardest person in Italy to mark, he did well against him as well. No Striker in Italy really has had a big impact against Milan skinnier that’s how great he has been. After a very poor first season at Sampdoria, his two years at Inter Milan have been unbelievable. He is in that conversation as one of the best defenders in World football. It’s not just defensively he has the knack to find the back of the net occasionally because of his size and power even though that didn’t really occur much this season. He is only going to continue to grow in his role he makes it into my team of the season every single time. He is just that good he is the one player you have to worry about when you take a trip to the San Siro.
Center back: Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) Clean Sheets: 12
My other center-back in my team of the season is none other than Napoli Koulibaly. In my estimation the best defender in the world. Ever since he has been in Italian football he has been one of the best we have to offer. An unreal ability of intelligence and an incredible work rate. He has been the one part of Napoli that has shown up in every single game. He commands perfection from his backline as he has been the leader of the Napoli defense all season. This hasn’t been a great season for Napoli like the past two years But Napoli has one of the best defenses in Italian football & last season they had the 2nd highest defensive record. His commanding leadership and abilities is a big reason why. Don’t get me wrong they could have done a lot better collectively but Koulibaly has had some unbelievable moments this season. It really was no question that he belongs in the team of the season yet again. In terms of ability intelligence physicality and everything in between, he is at the very best in the world. You add that all that together plus the fact that he had a game this season where he scored two goals. Koulibaly is the single best defensive defender in the world he is not known for attacking reasons that just shows how incredible he has been this season. It has been a troubling season for Napoli and he has even been hit with some racial issues through the campaign but nonetheless, he kept grounded and didn’t let anything affect him as he continues to improve and reiterate the point that he is the best defender in the world. That’s not to mention in Serie he was top-ranked in interceptions and tackles. He has to carry an enormous load in the Napoli Defence it really shows his unbelievable value. They were one of the highest defensive teams in the league last season and in my opinion, he shoulders the weight. There are some good Defenders around him but none that are even remotely at his level the Napoli defense isn’t as impressive as we all think it is because Koulibaly has pulled his weight he makes everyone around him better I would take him over any defender in the world he is back in my team of the season where he belongs.
Right back: Hans Hateboer (Atalanta) Goals: 5 Assists: 5 Clean Sheets: 6
Filling out my defense for the team of the season at right back Atalanta’s Hans Hateboer. Atalanta has had a remarkable season a historic Champions League campaign insured for next season as well as a top-three finish. Hans Hateboer has been a big part of that both attacking wise and defensively. He is one of the best young defenders in all of Italian football and his versatility is well documented as he has proven that on numerous occasions this season. He has the capability and intelligence to make a striker very uncomfortable. As well as the conviction to score goals and to find teammates for open opportunities. Atalanta must do everything to hold on to them. Even though Mancini gets the headlines Hateboer is their best defender and I think defensively they might suffocate without him. He plays his role extremely well he’s a young player with Incredible intelligence and a very unique quality his vision and passing ability is as good as anyone in Italy. He had a pretty productive campaign offensively as well as getting teammates involved consistently. Contributing 10 goals to Italy’s highest scoring team. Using his size getting on the end of crosses and finding the back of the net on several occasions with five goals this season as well as having the mental intelligence and exceptional vision to pick out teammates for opportunities adding five assists. He will be a crucial part of their Champions League campaign next season. At just 25 years old he has a lot a potential ahead of him. He has proven to be incredibly invaluable to Atalanta and what they will try to do going forward. His versatility makes him almost unplayable. Much like Kolarov he has abilities and attacking and defensive areas. He has room to grow and develop but there is no debate that he has been one of the best defenders in Italian football this season. Team of the season of recognition is no less than he deserves.